Types of Genitive Case

 And ‘Relative Exclusiveness’

As Employed in Scripture[i]



//Early Draft Version//







 The more the type of genitive eludes the reader the more the meaning gets confused, sometimes even reversed!

 Scrutinizing how the genitive is related to the noun it qualifies is of most significant importance!!

 Now, when it comes to the scripture, it is of more importance much the way the scripture is more important than any other talk!!!


 When I delivered this topic first[ii],

 I had no avail to the advanced English grammatical literature.

 I was limited to the poor Arabic research in the topic, and so I had to invent most of the termon0logy and coin many explanatory expressions in Arabic.

 I then worked, being virtually a pioneer, on classifying the types of genitive case, and preparing examples for each type.

 The audience liked the idea of differentiating between ‘Subjective’ and ‘Objective’ types, discerning the ‘Partitive’ type, etc.

 They also understood how a genitive can be implied, that is, it is not technically termed as ‘genitive’ in the Arabic common grammar, but yet it is a genitive case according to the meaning. Examples of that in English are the ‘possessive form,’ ‘the ‘adjectival form’ and the implied or contextual genitive, on which I will elaborate later in this foreword.


 Now, as working in haste on this English version, I know the topic is well searched and well known in the English speaking arena.

 No need then to rewrite the technical part in English herein. Thus, the scope of this article will be limited to the applicative part of the lecture, and discuss few prominent scriptures in which the genitive case type is the pivotal element for correct exegesis.


 There is one interesting point. However, that lacks enough theoretical discussion in the English grammatical literature. That is what I may call ‘Relative (Contextual) Exception (Limitation, Exclusiveness). I will use, however, the expression ‘contextual exclusiveness hereon. The genitive element in which, comes from the implied context that qualifies the limits of the object of exception. This case is well observed in common Arabic grammar and I had no need to invent its terms in my Arabic version of this article[iii]. It is interesting that I need to do so in English this time!



 Applications on Prominent Genitive Scriptures


 I have tried, for the coming list, to gather various kinds of employing genitive case in scripture, especially those that are falsely used to attack the Christian faith..

The head scriptures are arranged topically.

Unless otherwise mentioned and accounted for, all of the following scriptures are quoted from YLT:


·         Eph1:17

·         Eph1:23,3:19,4:13

·         Col1:15, Rev3:14

·         Col1:24

·         Rom8:21

·         Joh17:3

·         1Ti3:2

·         Act4:12





·         “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the recognition of him”


   Although its being a ‘genitive of worshipping’ causes no problem, with regard to the Christian belief in a full real incarnation, but as a matter of fact, this very genitive case has another type. It is a ‘genitive of revealing,’ of ‘teaching on,’ of ‘showing the real image of.’

   Ephesians are of Greek/Roman pagan culture, who had been predominantly taught of political gods, of mythical gods, besides the mundane general gods as money and lust. Philosophers and poets instilled in the minds and hearts of people the worship of and submission to such gods. In a related paragraph, the apostle Paul draws the attention to those facts: See that no one shall be carrying you away as spoil through the philosophy and vain deceit, according to the deliverance of men, according to the rudiments of the world, and not according to Christ (Col2:8).

   How to specify God the Father as opposed to such false gods? He is defined as the God whom Jesus Christ Himself, not a poet nor a politician nor a philosopher nor a pagan false teacher, revealed and taught about (e.g. Joh1:18; 10:36).



·         which is his body, the fulness of Him who is filling the all in all

       to know also the love of the Christ that is exceeding the knowledge, that ye may be filled--to all the fulness of God

       till we may all come to the unity of the faith and of the recognition of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to a measure of stature

        of the fulness of the Christ


   The genitives of “fullness of God, fullness of Christ’ are evidently subjective genitives. They mean the fullness that God (the Father) and Christ fill the believers with, not the other way round, i.e. the believers are invited to fill the Father and Christ!

   To prove that, it is straightforwardly remarked that the elect of God are not equal in capacity of grace, but rather differ:

   “… as to each God did deal a measure of faith(Rom12:3),

   “… star from star doth differ in glory(1Co15:41),

   And above all, the Lord tells about a superlative greatness in the kingdom of heaven (Mat11:11).


   So, there is no reason to add up to the biblical language that does speak about believers being filled by Christ, not the other way roud:

   “… and out of His fulness did we all receive, and grace over-against grace(Joh1:16),

   “… and ye are in Him made full, who is the head of all principality and authority(Col2:10)..


   But as for the church, being the fullness of Him is a meticulously different story. The church is the fullness of God’s pleasure and satisfaction. She is the ultimate goal of his purpose. So, being his fullness does not mean equality, but rather the final completion of His purpose. This cannot apply to individual believers, for individuals, by themselves do not stand, each alone, as the fullness of god’s purpose.



·         who is the image of the invisible God, first-born of all creation

       “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness,

        the beginning of the creation of God” (KJV)

 This quotation is taken from KJV because the YLT inserts a kind of interpretive element, ‘The chief of the creation …” To be so literal enough, that the examination works perfectly, I did not like to get support in the YLT bit of interpretation rendered.


   This can be both domination genitive in general, as Jesus Christ in both His divinity and manhood is the head, prince and forerunner of the church. It can also be an inclusive genitive, only human-wise speaking as such.

   The word ‘beginning can mean head or chief literally, so it has no problems from the first look. As for the word first-born, Christ is eternally born from the Father. If related as the first-born to the creation, it can simply mean a genitive of domination and of spiritual prototype. It can also mean his being first-born in His humanity.


   However, I tilt toward thinking that the apostle Paul meant it in the divine meaning, as the sentence makes brilliant sense as a parallel as such:

   The image (icon) of the invisible God (his apparition in flesh)

   The first-born of all creation (His domination over creation since the early beginning as being the divine only begotten eternal Son of God)!

   See all the elements of this wonderful Pauline comparison: 

   The creation is compared to God, and the stances of Christ to both creation and God is compared to each other.. Christ to creation is the Icon of the invisible God. To God, He is the chief of the creation. In other words, this wonderful theological statement tells that Christ is the only and eternal mediator who links the creation to its creator, God the Father. As such, Christ is certainly not created Himself!



·         “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and do fill up the things lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh for his body, which is the assembly(Col1:24):


   ‘Lacking’ cannot be identically related to the work of Christ. It is a genitive of reason. The apostle means the lacking of tribulation that the church has to bear in the name and because of Christ. Many related paragraphs accords with this understanding.

   The work of Jesus Christ on earth was complete (joh19:28, 30), and His suffering was enough to enter into His glory (Luk24:26), which opens the gate for His followers..

   ‘New mystical’ guys, as I call them, take advantage of misreading this verse. To tem I say, if the church is the fullness of Christ (Eph1:23), that relates fullness to the church but not lacking to Christ!



·         “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God(Rom8:21):


   This time it is not a very serious example. However light, I would like to establish the principle of correct understanding of how the language works for the sake of securing the right exegetical mindset.

   The genitive case meant here is adjectival. It is ‘the glorious liberty …’ The original Greek form is: ἐλευθερίαν τῆς δόξης

   Let it be rewritten then, for the sake of true translation, as ‘The liberty of the glory,’ and thus the whole sentence becomes ‘the liberty of the glory of the children of God.’

   If one thinks it is adjectival, then the glory of the children of God will be shared by the whole creation, which cannot be the doctrines of the bible nor the apostle Paul.

   It is literally not ‘adjectival genitive’ but rather a straightforward one.  Now the liberty is a genitive and it qualifies the whole part following it. How it does so? Which kind of genitive case it is? It is not adjectival as seen from the original text. So of what type is it? It is a genitive of cause. The glory of the children of God, when revealed, will launch the liberty of the whole creation. Liberty from corruption as the kingdom of heaven will have no bit of corruption (1Co15: 50). So earth will be new (Rev21:1), with no thistles or darkness. Heaven will also be so with no storms or floods (Rev21:1). The seas and rivers will no longer be there but instead a sea of glass, that is clear and safe (Rev15:2), and crystal river (Rev22:1) will be there.



·         “… and this is the life age-during, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and him whom Thou didst send--Jesus Christ” (Joh17:3):


   The exclusion is ONLY applied on the false gods worshipped by pagans, wicked people, starting from the devil himself (2Co4:4) passing through money (Luk16: 13), until the wombs of the glutton ones (Phi3:19).

   The guiding clue in the context is the words the Lord opens his saying with: The eternal Life!

   So the gods who lead to death and deprive their worshippers from eternal life are those who are meant by the exclusion from being each a ‘true god.’

   Satan, as a false god, kills and deprives from eternal life if worshipped (Joh8:44, 10:10)..

   Money does the same. The fool rich man (Luk12: 16-21) is an evident example of money as a lethal god. The wise steward (Luk16:1-12) is a counter example of a one being saved from the inequity of ‘god money’ he has been accepted in the eternal tabernacles (Luk16: 9)..

   Gluttony is alike. Even without reaching the degree of gluttony, only serving the earthly food leads to death (Joh6: 27, 49)..

   As opposed to them, God the Father is the ‘ONLY’ true God! This exclusion does not work on Jesus Himself. Jesus Christ is the source of the very eternal life given to us from God the Father> In him was life. He is the resurrection and the life. He is in the Father, and the Father is in Him.

   If Jesus Christ was meant by exclusion from being the true God, then God the Father Himself is excluded—God forbid, as being deprived from the Life which is in Him—again God forbid.


   The word ‘only,’ only excludes the false gods, as Jesus Christ is naturally and eternally included in the Father. That simple and that sure it is.



·         “… it behoveth, therefore, the overseer to be blameless, of one wife a husband, vigilant, sober, decent, a friend of strangers, apt to teach” (1Ti3:2):


   Some funny trouble-makers of the last days use this verse to ‘prove’ that the bishop MUST BE (but not only ‘can be’) married. This cannot be what the apostle meant for compelling reasons.

 1) The apostle himself was not married (1Co9:5).

 2) He not only was celibate but he also wished all men to be even as himself (1Co1:7, 1Co1:8. Cf. 1Co1:1).

 3) Moreover he tells with no reservation about other bishops, even apostles, who are celibate, i.e. Barnabas (1Co9:6).

 4) To top it all, timothy the very bishop to whom this scripture was sent, who was ordained by the apostle Paul himself (1Ti4:14), was celibate. An evidence for that can be found in this advice given to him by the apostle Paul: and the youthful lusts flee thou (2Ti2:22). Timothy was even ordained as archbishop as being authorized to ordain himself other bishops. The very scripture misread by those rebels testifies (1Tim3:2) to that!!!

 5) So far, I have limited my reasoning to the objective textual/contextual scrutiny, with no reference to the most famous related scripture, that the Lord himself said in (Mat19:10-12).


   The commandment herein, therefore, is a contextual limited exclusion. It excludes NOT unmarried men, but rather those who have experienced polygamy.



·         “… and there is not salvation in any other, for there is no other name under the heaven that hath been given among men, in which it behoveth us to be saved” (Act4:12):

   This is a crystal clear example of an absolute exclusiveness. The meaning is related to the noun qualified by the exception. All others are excluded. Under the heaven all human beings lived and live. Under that heaven no other name has been given for salvation but that of Jesus Christ! How one may express the absoluteness of the meaning with a stronger expression than that, I wonder!




[i] Locations of this English Draft Version: ‘Coptic Youth 4 Holy Book’ Version   Winword Docx Version

Same Article in Arabic: ‘Coptic Youth 4 Holy Book’ Version    FB Version (Part I   Part II)    Winword Docx Version


[ii] It was delivered as lecture for ‘Village Ministers’ retreat, of st. George church ministry, Agouza, Egypt. The retreat was held in Alexandria, the summer of most probably 1996(?).


[iii] This part was not included in the lecture of the retreat meeting. I add it to the article for the sake of comprehensiveness )


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